When you want to save money on food but have no time to clip coupons, what do you do? Or worse, when the foods you buys (like fresh foods) have no coupons. Now what?
Most importantly, the issue with clipping coupons is that once you buy the food, then you have to come up with recipes to match up those deals, and this takes a lot more time and often times, the food goes unused. It’s also a lot more work!
So, how do you save money on food without clipping coupons?
Check out these tips:
Create a meal plan.
Starting out with a meal plan that is composed of budget-friendly ingredients is the way to get your family’s food budget under control. Creating a meal plan allows you to shop smarter during your grocery shopping trips by keeping to your list and eliminating impulse buys.
A meal plan provides a purpose to every ingredient purchased and therefore, it saves money on wasted food.
You hear this tip all the time because it works! If you want to take control of your food spending, you are going to have to sit down and create a plan for your money. Unused ingredients, impulse buys, and “stocking up because it’s on sale” no longer applies when you create a meal plan and stick to your shopping list each week.
What’s great is that a meal plan will also save you and your family a tremendous amount of time in the kitchen. All our meal plans include prep-ahead tips so you can spend less time cooking and more time doing what matters to you most. On the plus side, when dinner is planned, there is no need to hit the drive-through on the way home from practice. Knowing that a healthy and fresh meal is waiting for you when you get home is a big deterrent and you save money!
Instead of clipping coupons, check out the sales circular. You can often stock up on staple items like beans, rice, pasta, and more at a fraction of the cost.
When you check out the circular and see that chicken is going to be on sale, then perhaps you can select more chicken recipes for the week than other meats, for example.
When you sure that you only shop what’s on sale, and you’ll find that you can save up to 30% or more on your grocery bill.
And when at the store, check out the “same day clearance section” where prices are often slashed by 50-75%! Even if you are not cooking up that item for dinner, you can freeze it for a later date.
Club Store Membership.
When you have a large family, a club membership will often pay for itself on a few trips. A single loaf of bread, for example, is $3.89 at the grocery and a 2-pack of the same bread is $4.98 at the club store. That’s a 64% savings! Many staple items like butter, cheese, milk, eggs, fresh fruit and other produce, yogurts, juice, meats, and more are worth purchasing at the club store.
For bulk, pantry items, specialty diets, and organic specialty ingredients we love Thrive Market. The membership fee pays for itself in about two orders for my family and I’m able to save on my favorite brands each time. First time members also get 15% and free shipping on their first order.
Sign up for the Store’s Reward Card.
While it’s often annoying, the “do you have a store card” question can save you money each week as well. Most stores offer weekly sales where the discount price is only applicable when you scan your card; and, while it’s ok that once in a while you use the store’s card, having a personal card will help you earn store points and discounts towards future purchases.
A store card provides an immediate discount when the card is scanned upon check out. Most stores have a points system and members-only discounts that are only applied by using the card.
For the longest time, I used the store manager’s card until I learned that my store also provided savings on gas and $10 off my purchase voucher every so many weeks. Why not save money while I’m already shopping? The great thing about the voucher is that it can be used on the entire purchase, not just an individual item. Of course, you only earn the vouchers when you have your own card.
Buy food at the farmer’s market, fruit stand, and local CSA box.
Most local farmer’s markets offer fresh fruit at very competitive prices as well as often for less than at the grocery store. Fruit stands close to the fields are also a terrific option for fresh produce and if you have a CSA box available, you know you’ll have fresh vegetables delivered weekly. The only drawback of a CSA box for most families is the lack of ability to plan food ahead of time since you never know what you are going to get in your box. However, when it comes to saving money, you’ll often get more produce for your fee than you would at the grocery.
Don’t let your food go to waste.
Too often we see people go shopping, put all their veggies in the bottom drawer of the refrigerator and only open that drawer again when it’s time to toss the veggies out. Of course, that’s not you, since you’ve created a meal plan for your food, right?
One of the best things to ensure that the produce that is consumed gets eaten is to wash and prep as much of it as you can when you bring it home from the grocery. This way, fresh fruits, and vegetables are available and ready to eat when you want them.
What are your favorite tips to save on shopping for groceries without using coupons?